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Woodlands confirmed its favouritism in the premier grade when the Southland club rugby competitions began on Saturday.
The star-studded Woodlands team earned a 24-7 win at home over reigning champions Blues.
Pirates Old Boys beat Marist 12-7 at Surrey Park in Invercargill, and nearby at Waverly Park it was Star which prevailed over the Eastern Northern Barbarians 25-19.
Star was hosting its annual club day on Saturday. Drizzly rain failed to dampen the club successfully hosting 20 schoolboy teams during the morning.
Star started favourite against the inexperienced Barbarians and controlled important periods of the game. The Barbarians had two shots at goal flagged away during the scoreless opening 15 minutes and then lost loose forward Jacob Coglan to a yellow card.
Star scored two converted tries during Coglan’s absence. A third try to the locals made it 19-0 at halftime.
The visiting side started the second half with a determined attitude and displayed some impressive ball-handling skills in the greasy conditions. First five-eighth Sheamus McGuigan scored a well-taken converted try, but Star rebuilt its lead when Jono Hayes landed two penalty goals.
The final 15 minutes was played in dark and miserable conditions. Barbarians scored an intercept try to Angus Simmers and then, in the final minutes, earned a penalty try after an early tackle.
Star co-coach Chris McIlwrick said it was a typical round-one game.
Loose forwards Corey Thompson and Jordy Stewart were good for Star, along with new midfielder Brad Armstrong from the Bay of Plenty.
Barbarians coach Nathan Howden was pleased his team earned a bonus point.
The side was in a rebuilding year, and he was happy with the comeback but the yellow card was costly.
Riversdale lock James Napier was the best of the Baabaas, and Coglan also earned the coach’s praise.
In the division one Ack Soper Shield competition, Edendale earned an exciting 34-32 win in Waikaka. Phil Brown scored two tries in his 150th match for the Edendale club.
In the other two matches Midlands scored 38 unanswered points in Riversdale, and Te Anau upset Wyndham, a finalist last season, 19-12.
Premier grade — Galbraith Shield: Woodlands 24, Blues 7; Pirates Old Boys 12, Marist 7; Star 25, Barbarians 19.
Division One — Ack Soper Shield: Waikaka 32, Edendale 34; Riversdale 0, Midlands 38; Te Anau 19, Wyndham 17.
Gerald Dermody Shield: Tokanui 22, Pioneer 3; Wakatipu 8, Waikiwi 29; Albion Excelsior 7, Mossburn 31.
Division Two — CJ Soper Trophy; Bluff 23, Pioneer B 0; DLS 45, Blues B 26; Star B 5, Waiau Star 15.
Life Members Trophy: POB B 17, Marist B 17; Central Pirates 10, Woodlands B 27,
- John Langford